We’re Trying Oil Pulling for a Month
Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic oral care practice, and it is gaining traction as a trend today. Some people swear by it and others are more skeptical. With nothing to lose, and little scientific study available on its effectiveness, a few of us at Boka are going to try it ourselves.
The goal of oil pulling is to essentially pull out from your mouth the bad microorganisms that cause gingivitis, plaque and bad breath. Plus, it may help whiten teeth.
Each morning, oil pullers swish a tablespoon of oil around their mouth for 20 minutes, spit it in the trash, rinse with warm water and go about their normal days. It is time consuming, but not disruptive—after pulling, you can eat, drink, floss and brush your teeth normally.
Many of the microorganisms in your mouth are single-celled and covered with a fatty membrane. So the theory behind oil pulling is that the microorganisms are attracted to the also-fatty oil molecules. They clump together and leave your body once you spit out the oil.
You can use a variety of oils and products, so we’re going to try a few over the next month.
- Eric: MCT oil
- Becky: Cocowhite
- Katie: Sesame oil
- Ashleigh: Coconut oil
October 16, 2015 (Day 1)
Becky / Cocowhite
“It felt really weird to squeeze a tube of waxy coconut oil into your mouth. It felt kind of like trying to eat a candle or a tube of lip balm. It quickly melted and then felt more like I was swishing oily mouthwash. My mouth seemed unsure what to do with it, and I probably swallowed some by accident. Once I was done, I felt like I had washed my mouth in mint lip balm.
I could swear my teeth did look a little bit whiter, although that might be crazy. My mouth felt smoother and possibly cleaner.”
Eric / MCT oil
“On day one, it’s easy to see how life can get in the way of maintaining a proper oil pulling routine. Today I’m a solo parent who needs to get a four-year-old to the airport and fly to another city. Luckily, I woke up well before the alarm and my daughter stayed sleeping during my 20 minutes.
The oil was okay in my mouth. I’d previously taken oil supplements every day so I’m used to the texture. Twenty minutes seemed like an eternity. I’m sure I’ll get used to it as time goes on, but tomorrow I think I’ll listen to my audiobook while I swish and swirl.”
Katie / Sesame oil
“Day one didn’t go all that well for me. Usually I eat breakfast first-thing, so doing oil pulling for 20 minutes first is definitely a new routine for me. I took a small sip of oil right from the bottle and it didn’t feel like too much at first, but as the minutes passed, I was tempted to swallow it. I did end up spitting out a bit, and definitely didn’t make it the full 20 minutes.
Also, the sesame oil taste got to be unpleasant fairly quickly. Actually, it’s pretty nasty. I may switch to either coconut or olive.”
Ashleigh / Coconut oil
“The first day was… okay. I wasn’t ready for the lard-like consistency of the coconut oil and almost canned the whole experiment while waiting for it to melt in my mouth. Then I got a little too ambitious, and tried to swish it around while taking a shower—but when I tipped my head back to rinse my hair, I accidentally swallowed most of it, gagged, and spit out the rest. I’d say I made it about 10 minutes. I spent the rest of the morning Googling, “What happens when you swallow your oil pulling oil?’
I think next few days will be better now that I know what it feels like.”
November 6, 2015 update: